Dos Santos’ body to be released to widow, returned to Angola
A Barcelona court has ordered the body of former Angolan leader Jose Eduardo dos Santos be released to his widow and returned home for burial, according to a ruling published Wednesday.
Barcelona court has ordered the body of former Angolan leader Jose Eduardo dos Santos be released to his widow and returned home for burial, according to a ruling published Wednesday.
In a decision dated Tuesday, the court decided that Dos Santos’ remains “be delivered to his widow Ana Paula Cristovao dos Santos for burial” and granted authorisation for “the repatriation and international transfer of (his) remains to Angola”.
Dos Santos, who ruled the oil-rich African nation with an iron first from 1979 to 2017, died in Barcelona on July 8 at the age of 79 after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Since then, the question of when and where he will be buried has pitted the Angolan government and his widow, Ana Paula, against some of his adult children.
Last month, several of his children signed a letter in which they agreed to hold a state funeral for their father in Angola but only after an election later this month.
But his 44-year-old daughter Tchize dos Santos, who filed a legal complaint in Barcelona alleging “attempted murder” against her father’s widow and his personal doctor, has insisted he wanted to be buried in Spain where he had lived since 2019.
Just days after his death, an autopsy was carried out at her request on grounds he died in “suspicious circumstances” and in mid-July a court refused to release his body until the tests were finished and it had been decided to which relative his body would be released.
In its ruling, the court said its decision was based on the definitive autopsy results which it received on August 16, saying the analyses carried were “conclusive” and show he died “a death from natural causes”.
She firmly opposes his body’s return to Angola and on Wednesday issued a statement through her lawyers vowing to appeal the ruling on grounds that the court did not have the jurisdiction to rule on what was essentially a civil matter.
“There is a civil proceeding about this matter already under way,” said her legal team in a statement.
When he stepped down in 2017, dos Santos handed over to former defence minister Joao Lourenco whom he had handpicked to succeed him.
But Lourenco quickly turned on his erstwhile patron, unleashing an anti-corruption drive to recoup billions he suspected had been embezzled under dos Santos, a campaign that has targeted the former president’s family.